Cohasset – The Trustees of Reservation want to erect an 80-meter wind turbine on their property atop Turkey Hill.
On Tuesday night, the Trustees introduced the planning board to the project as the first public hearing on the special permit application.
The presentation covered nearly all aspects of the project and its potential impacts.
Items like noise, shadow/flicker, setbacks, lighting, and visual impact were addressed.
A small crowd of both Hingham and Cohasset residents attended the hearing.
The Trustees of Reservation is a non-profit group dedicated to the preservation of open space. They maintain for the enjoyment of all over 100 properties across Massachusetts.
The group’s local properties include World’s End in Hingham, Whitney-Thayer Woods in Cohasset and Turkey Hill/Weir River Farm in Cohasset and Hingham.
In a Master Plan written in 2007, the Trustees made it a goal to become a carbon-neutral organization. The energy generated from the proposed turbine would put the organization well on its way to that goal.
The 80-meter, 1.8-megawatt turbine by Vestas is the targeted machine (although the Trustees said they would go out to bid on the project, so that could change). The Trustees would own the turbine.
The turbine, which will be in the northwest corner of Cohasset near the Hingham border, is surrounded by open space.
The closest residences to the turbine will the Golden Living Center and a house in Hingham leased to the Trustees from the Town of Hingham.
With large structures like a wind turbine there are impacts on the surrounding homes and community. Visual aspects, noise and the possibility of shadow flicker are some of the big issues.
The Trustees created photo simulations of how they turbine would look from various points in the surrounding towns. From Sandy Beach, the turbine was a distant vision. From the Cohasset Golf Course, the turbine could be clearly seen. In most of Cohasset and Hingham tree cover will shield the turbine from most points of view.
Acoustical engineer Chris Menge said his analysis showed the noise impacts met the bylaw and state requirements. The state calls for no more than a 10-decibel increase over ambient noise at a property line, or closest residence.
The Golden Living community off Route 3A is the nearest residence and noise could increase about six decibels at a moderate wind speed (11 miles per hour).
“We do not expect significant noise impacts on the community as a result of the turbine,” Menge said.
Next up, the Trustees address shadow flicker, a strobing effect produced when the sun passes behind the blades of the turbine – and it could potentially affect the residents and business within roughly 1,000-meters of the turbine during certain times of the day, during certain times of the year.
Dennis Laria, a mechanical engineer consulting on the project, said did not expect any of the nearby residences to exceed more than 30 hours of shadow flicker each year, an industry standard.
Laria said the Trustees have met with Golden Living and they are in support of the project.
The turbine would connect to the electric grid via a pole on Route 3A.
This is the second time it has considered a wind turbine project. In 2008 and 2009, the planning board considered, and ultimately denied, an application for two 100-meter turbines off Route 3A near Hingham Lumber. A private developer, CCI-Energy, brought the proposal forth.
“Hopefully we’re all a little smarter and this can move along,” said Planning Board Chairman Al Moore.
The hearing was continued until Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7:30p.m. The entire Trustees of Reservation project application can be viewed at the Planning Board office at Town Hall.
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